At Farmhouse Fabrics, we have so many different kinds of beautiful fabrics. If you walk through our doors you can see dozens of model garments made with these exquisite fabrics and trims. However, because there are so many different kinds of fabrics, it can be difficult to tell the difference between two fabrics sometimes. Two very similar fabrics are organdy and organza-even the names are confusingly similar!
Let’s begin with Organdy. Organdy is a crisp, sheer fabric that is 100% cotton. The kind we carry at Farmhouse is mostly Swiss organdy which means that it is an extremely high quality weave made in Switzerland (that part is probably obvious…) It is made with tightly twisted yarns in an open, plain weave-which results in a light, fine, sheer fabric. Because this fabric is 100% cotton and a very fine weave, it can sometimes wrinkle easily. Some organdies have a finish applied to them to prevent the natural wrinkle. The appeal of organdy is that it is delightfully crisp and light. It has an exquisite, delicate hand that is perfect for heirloom sewing. It is often used for First Communion outfits. Some of our favorite embroidered fabrics are Swiss organdy!
Because organdy is 100% cotton, it does not need to be dry cleaned! It should be hand washed or washed very carefully due to the fine-ness of the weave and the delicacy of the fabric as a whole. It is best to hang dry this fabric and iron while still damp.
Next we have organza. The main difference between these two fabrics is the fiber content. The weave of both organdy and organza is an open “plain weave“so the production of the fabric is the same. The difference is in the fibers: organdy is made of combed fibers whereas organza is made with filament yarns (twisted fibers). Organza is another light, sheer fabric with a crisp finish but rather than cotton it is made out of silk, polyester, or a combination of the two. With its lovely sheen and smooth texture, organza is often used in bridal and formal wear. Its crisp hand is perfect for adding fullness or structure to gorgeous ball gowns or ethereal flower girl dresses. We love how this fabric looks so delicate yet is really quite durable. It’s fine enough to use as a trim on a doll dress but it can also be used in a Pressing Partner (pre-cut pieces of silk organza “partnered” with pre-washed and dried wool) for ironing purposes. (For those of you who are wondering what that means: silk organza is perfect to use as a pressing cloth because of its sheer quality, and it has a high melting point-being silk-and can therefore be heated to 300 degrees while ironing. The transparency of the fabric allows you to see through it so you can place the iron wherever you need to. The fine weave of the fabric also eliminates texture transfer to the fabric you are pressing. The wool would be used on the ironing board to help absorb moisture.)
Our friend Gail used some of our bridal organza to make an adorable princess dress for her granddaughter (see the picture above)! We love how she played up the sheer quality of the organza by lining the dress with pink batiste. When Gail came into our shop and said she wanted fabric for a “princess dress” for her granddaughter’s upcoming trip to Disney World, our minds immediately went to organza. It has that “princess” quality! We had several very unique cuts of bridal fabric at the time, and we all had a great time helping Gail coordinate this darling dress!
Caring for silk organza is fairly straight forward. It can be machine washed and then hung dry. You will get the best results if you iron it when it is still slightly damp. Again, although you wouldn’t think so when you look at it, silk organza is incredibly durable.
So those are a few differences between organdy and organza. Both fabrics are smooth, delicate, and delightfully crisp and both are beautifully suited for many different projects.